Pakistan should be 'embarrassed' about Bin Laden but U.S. must tread carefully with that nation, McConnell says

05/03/2011 06:06 PM

Pakistani leaders’ insistence that they didn’t know Osama bin Laden was hiding there is difficult to believe, Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell said.

“It’s a very, very complicated place. It is however, a government that has been largely allied with us and it is a government that has nuclear weapons. So completely withdrawing is not a good option. But if I was the Pakistan government, I would at least be pretty embarrassed about this,” McConnell said from Washington in an interview with Pure Politics’ Ryan Alessi. (see the 2:30 mark of the video)

McConnell said Bin Laden may have been in Pakistan for up to six years, but the United States has to be careful with their relations with Bin Laden’s host country because it has nuclear weapons.

“I hope that they’ll view this as an indication that the U.S. is an ally that ought to be sided with an all occasions, not just some occasions,” McConnell said. (see the 3:45 mark of the video)

But he didn’t say whether the $20 billion the United States spends a year in aid to Pakistan should be reduced. (9:33 mark)

“To reduce spending, everything will have to be on the table. And everything will have to be considered,” he said. “But I think the lesson of tracking and finally getting Osama bin Laden ought to be applied to the debt, is that we need to pursue debt reduction with the same single-minded focus.”

McConnell, Kentucky’s senior U.S. Senator and the Republican Senate leader, said he found out the most wanted man in the world was dead when Vice President Joe Biden called him and told him about 10 p.m. on Sunday.

McConnell said the mission that ultimately ended in the death of the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, Osama Bin Laden, was kept very top secret.

“None of us were in the loop in advance nor should we have been,” McConnell said. “This was a closely held operation.” (see this at the :45 second mark of the video)

In January, McConnell visited the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, which is about 35 miles from the Bin Laden compound. He said he was surprised as anyone else that Bin Laden was hiding in plain sight in a comfortable setting in Pakistan.

“I’m not sure many other people did either, in or out of the intelligence community.” (see this at the 1:20 mark of the video)

McConnell said he has no criticism of the way the Obama Administration has taken with releasing details of the raid on the Bin Laden compound.

“Only the biggest skeptics could doubt, you know that we got him.” (see the 6:15 mark of the video)

McConnell said Bin Laden’s death doesn’t mark the end of anything to do with the war on terror, except his personal ability to try and kill innocent people.

“It’s a great victory, a particularly important message to send to terrorists around the world, that if you hit us, sooner or later, we’ll get you,” McConnell said. “But I don’t think it ends the war on terror. I don’t think it ends the operation in Afghanistan. So we need to not assume that this produces a desirable end to all the conflict in that area.” (see the 4:50 mark of the video)


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